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Katiri Zuluaga

Manager, State Initiatives

NatCon19 Showcases Behavioral Health Policy Landscape

March 28, 2019 | Uncategorized | Comments
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This past week, over 6,000 attendees gathered in Nashville, TN for NatCon19, behavioral health’s premier conference. From inspiring fireside chats and keynotes to line dancing, NatCon19 had it all and provided the latest insights into policy challenges, solutions and guidance for behavioral health advocates. The consensus among health care leaders, government officials and innovative experts is that Medicaid waivers, state plan amendments, parity, and telehealth policy will continue to dominate the 2019 policy landscape for mental health and addiction treatment. NatCon19 attendees can access all presentation slides here with their badge number.

NatCon Policy Track Highlights

  • Medicaid waivers and State Plan Amendments are expected to continue to play a critical role in health care policy in 2019 and will significantly impact behavioral health consumers. Whether states are using waivers to restrict access through work requirements or expand access and increase innovative treatment, it is important to understand how to speak with policymakers about using waivers to improve mental health and addiction coverage.
  • Parity for behavioral health treatment may be the law, but individuals still face challenges getting insurance to cover mental health and addiction treatment at parity with medical and surgical services. Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy shared his own experience about getting behavioral health treatment on stage at NatCon19 and discussed the Kennedy Forum’s #DontDenyMe Campaign which is working to uphold the federal parity law. States are also taking matters into their own hands to enforce parity, creating innovative strategies and tools to ensure access.
  • Telehealth policy continues to evolve and redefine health care delivery and 2019 will see that evolution continue. Legislation has been passed to remove barriers for opioid use disorder treatment via telemedicine and reforms in Medicare rulemaking have made telehealth more accessible than ever, but barriers still exist to widespread adoption.

Save the Dates: Hill Day 2019 and NatCon20

Later this year, behavioral health advocates will storm Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 17th – 18th, 2019 for National Council’s annual Hill Day. Make your voice heard at the largest behavioral health advocacy event of the year!

Whether you took full advantage of NatCon19 or had to miss it this year, be sure to mark your calendar for NatCon20 in Austin, TX April 5th – 7th, 2020. Registration will open in the fall and it will be a guaranteed, can’t-miss event for behavioral health next year.